My Secret Ingredient and a Camp Potatoes Recipe

secIngredPeople often ask me what seasonings I use to make my foods taste so great, so today I’m sharing my secret ingredient. I call it, no surprises here, Herban Farmer’s Secret Ingredient. I make this myself, hand-grinding the peppercorns in an antique coffee mill which gives them a nice variety in consistency, adjusting the ingredient proportions and using sea salt, so that I finally have it the way I love it. And do I ever love it!

Although I have an entire kitchen cabinet devoted to spices, seasonings, oils… this is the one seasoning that I use so much that I have to make a new batch several times a year. Plus, I have a few friends that are addicted to this stuff and come to me with their empty jars for refills. Not to mention it makes great Christmas gifts! This seasoning just seems to disappear… but considering that I use it for breakfast (it’s great in egg dishes), lunch (great in salads, on sandwiches, in soup, etc), dinner (awesome on meat, fish, poultry, seafood, vegetables, mashed potatoes, in sauces, stews, soups, jeez, even on cottage cheese!) and anything in between (yes, try it on grilled peaches or vegetables, you can’t go wrong) it’s no wonder I’m always having to crank up the old coffee mill.

potatoesI’ve even had friends joke that it makes a great sachet for the underwear drawer and will also do in a pinch to melt snow off the driveway… but enough of the jokes. This seasoning has become my ~secret ingredient~ and I have decided to spread the wealth and sell it on my blog. Every bottle is filled with my personally hand-made Secret Ingredient. The price includes shipping and packaging (and that’s not cheap these days!). If you order any of my other products such as the fermentation kits, I’ll throw in a sample packet of my Secret Ingredient.

So… try it, you’ll LOVE it!

Here’s the perfect recipe to begin with. I’ve been making this for decades. Not only is it easy to make, delicious and satisfying, but it’s also the perfect dish to make when you’re camping. I’ve even backpacked into wilderness and made this—it’s so easy when all the prep (cutting up of food) can be done in advance and carried in baggies. You could also add some meat to this to make it a meal rather than a side dish. Diced ham is a nice addition. Want to get even fancier? Add some grated cheddar to the top and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

potatoesThThis side dish is delicious, satisfying and easy to make. It's also a great camping dish since you can do all the prep at home. This goes especially great with grilled trout. It can also be served as a meal, just add some protein (ham is good) and cheese at the end. It's also a VERY good breakfast dish paired with eggs.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 servings


  • 2 large russet potatoes unpeeled, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 large bell pepper red or green, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion cut into 1" pieces
  • olive oil about 3 TB or so
  • 1 tsp HF Secret Ingredient or to taste


  • [Optional] Cook potatoes in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. This will remove some of the sticky starch that would otherwise make the potatoes stick to your skillet. It also speeds up the cooking process. This step can be skipped, but just know the potatoes will stick more to the skillet. Drain and rinse potatoes.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet, then add peppers, onion and potatoes. Sprinkle liberally with Herban Farmer's Secret Ingredient and sauté until the vegetables are soft and browning nicely, about 20-25 minutes if you've parboiled the potatoes, about 30 minutes if not. You can add about 1/4 c of water and cover at this point to deglaze the pan.
  • If adding ham or cheese, that can be done at the end. Serve hot and enjoy!

6 thoughts on “My Secret Ingredient and a Camp Potatoes Recipe

  1. Joe Tropf

    Hi Deb,Just read your article in Mother. I’ve been playing with sourdough for close to 30 years. Cakes,breads and pancakes are #1. I started seeing a naturopath a few months ago and she wants me to get off of processed foods including flours so I’m looking into different flours to use for my sourdough with the help of a friend that is vegan and now she has gone grain free so more changes to the recipie. Anyway while reading Mother you mentioned the term ” To die for”. My question for you is, have you ever been close? Because if you have you would change it to “to live for” if something is that good you would want to eat it again. You see 7 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer and went down hill from there. 4 months without eating watching the food channel 24–7 because eating was something to live for. If you haven’t gathered I don’t like that term or “Bucket list” either. To enjoy every day that I,m on top of this earth is what I told God I would do if given the opportunity. I hope to try your recipie someday. Until the next time enjoy life and have a good day. Joe Tropf

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      Hi Joe, Sorry, the terminology was not there to offend you or anyone. It’s just an expression. I grew up in the NY area, it’s commonly used. Imagine it being said with a NY accent. And yes, I’m also a cancer survivor, but I didn’t have as extreme an experience that you did. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through, I can’t even imagine.

      I do hope you try the Einkorn flour, I don’t use anything else these days. You may want to take a look at the Jovial web site for more information about it’s nutritional value. I have a biscuit recipe if you want to try something quick with the Einkorn. It’s “to live for” good. 🙂

      Thanks for the good wishes and your comment. The last time I told someone to have a good day, they said back “have a great life.” I thought that was a wonderful response, so, Joe, have a great life!

  2. Joe Cisneros

    Hi Farmer Deb. Do you ever do workshops on for instance making soap and other’s. If you do how do I find out about them or if I sign up for your post will you let us know that way. Where in Colorado do you live as I live in south central Colorado
    Joe Cisneros.

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      Hi Joe, I don’t really do workshops but have done demonstrations on making sauerkraut, for instance, for the local garden club. It’s interesting that you ask, because I have a friend that has a therapy ranch of sorts and wants me to do monthly demonstrations for making soap, bread, personal products (lotion bars, etc.), hopefully for homeschooled kids and others. If we she does get around to getting this organized, I’ll write a post about it here and include the schedule. Since you’re signed up here, you’ll get the post via email. But… this would be at her ranch in Elizabeth CO which sounds like it would be far for you. I’m near Denver myself. Maybe some day I’ll make some YouTube videos. 🙂

  3. Debbie Johnson

    Hi, Farmer Deb,

    I was reading the above comments about Einkorn, and am actually right now trying out your No Knead Einkorn Sourdough Bread, the Eastiest Recipe Ever! It is raising in my kitchen as I write. One question to clarify — the recipe calls for Einkorn flour. Do you use the all-purpose or whole grain flour purchased from Jovial, or do you grind your own?
    Many thanks,

    1. Farmer Deb Post author

      Hi Debbie! I buy the all purpose flour from Jovial. A friend gave me whole grain Einkorn from Austria once and the bread turned out like a brick. As I only use Einkorn flour here for all of my baking/cooking, I buy the 10 lb bag which brings the per pound cost down a bit. I hope you enjoy your bread!


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